For the first time in the history of African Lion, the largest joint exercise between the United States, Morocco and African militaries and observer nations in Africa, a delegation of Israeli military personnel are participating along with a 12-soldier delegation and a commander of the Golani reconnaissance battalion.
For this 19th edition of the African Lion 2023 organized in Morocco, soldiers from 18 countries are starting joint exercises in several cities in Morocco, and soldiers from 20 other countries will be observers during these exercises.
Inspector General of the Royal Armed Forces (FAR) and Commander of the Southern Zone, Mohammed Berrid, accompanied by the Deputy Commander General of the Southern European Task Force of the United States Army in Africa, Brigadier General Brian Cashman, welcomed on Monday June 5 the 8,000 soldiers taking part in this meeting, a major international military event.
For this edition which will take place until June 16, 7 Moroccan cities have been chosen to host the multilateral exercises, namely Agadir, Kenitra, Al Mahbès 70km from Tindouf, Tan Tan, Tiznit, Benguerir and Tifnit.
And for the first time, Israel is present at military maneuvers, in particular through its Golani brigade, an elite infantry unit of the Israeli army.
The Israeli army announced that throughout these exercises, participating Israeli soldiers will focus on training in various combat situations that combine urban guerrilla warfare and underground warfare.
For its part, the General Staff of the Royal Moroccan Armed Forces (FAR), indicated that the military maneuvers will include various exercises including “land, sea, air and joint tactics, day and night, a joint exercise for special forces, airborne operations, a military field hospital which provides medical and surgical services for the benefit of the population, and exercises to combat weapons of mass destruction”.
Furthermore, joint training for all participating armies should take place at the end of the two weeks.
Last year, two Israeli officers from the IDF and a senior official from the Israeli Ministry of Defense joined the African Lion exercises. The announcement was made public by the Israeli Ministry of Defense at the end of the exercises.
The Defense Ministry official was the head of the Middle East and North Africa division and also serves as the Defense Ministry attaché in Morocco, the Times Of Israel website reported at the time.
Israel’s participation in exercises organized by Africom and the Royal Moroccan Armed Forces continues to mark the strengthening of security relations between the two countries.
The two countries have already sealed an alliance in the security field in November 2021 following a visit to Morocco by the Israeli Minister of Defense, Benny Gantz.